2020 has been a very heavy year so far for so many people. It seems as though from mid March, we’ve all only been living a toned down and alternate version of our lives. Previous past times like live music, live sport, and even just a few pints with friends, have almost become events of the past rather than the everyday that we used to do on a regular basis.

But when a door closes, a window opens somewhere, and the lockdowns and the pandemic have provided the perfect environment for artists and creatives to focus on their art, and it providing an opportunity for certain performers to flourish and cultivate their crafts. It has proven to be a breakthrough stage for a lot of artists, one of this being the extremely talented Limerick hip-hop artist, Denise Chaila.

Chaila has been working away diligently on the Irish music scene since 2012, slowly developing a strong reputation as one of the best wordsmiths on the Limerick scene. Having moved to Ireland with her family from Zambia when she was three years old, and as a result has been a clear and articulate voice in talking about racism and the experiences of multinationals in Irish society. IT is a clear theme in her music, and is stunningly addressed in her debut EP from 2019, Duel Experience.

It was earlier this year in May when the big breakthrough came, with the release of the single, Chaila.

Chaila is a magnificent track and the perfect introduction to the wider masses for the talented Limerick performer. Demonstrating her ability for witting and gripping lyrics, and the clear and imaginative imagery that makes up her discography to this point. The song is a powerful assertion of self-worth and self importance and leans heavily on her experiences of growing up with duel citizenship in the country.

The main hook of the song focuses on the difficulty that people have had with the pronunciation of her name, and while on the surface this could be viewed as a humorous side effect of having a slightly unusual name, it is clear that Chaila is using this scenario as a device to highlight certain challenges that are faced by certain communities in the country.

“My name’s not that hard to pronounce
Pre-K, it’s not profound
Sound the words out

It’s not Chillay, it’s not Chilala
Not a hard pill to swalla
Chai-li or Chalia
Chia, Chilla, Dilla, that’s not my name
Say my name”

Stunning songwriting.